Clams Casino Pizza
- 1 recipe Pizza Dough, recipe follows
- 2 dozen large hard-shell clams, such as cherrystone or chowder clams
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 medium vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 2 fresh oregano sprigs, leaves striped from the stem
- 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 1/2 pound bacon strips, sliced
- 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Pizza Dough:
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups 00 flour, plus more for dusting
Wash and scrub clams well to remove the exterior sand. Fill a steamer or pot with 1-inch of water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and toss in the bay leaves. Heat until the water is simmering and then add the clams. Cover and steam for 5 to 10 minutes until the clams open - discard any that do not. Remove the clams from the shells, coarsely chop them up, and put in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Coat a saute pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes, and oregano. Cook and stir until the vegetables have cooked down and are really soft, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
Spread the ricotta evenly on the crust with a back of a spoon. Scatter the chopped clams all around and top with the sauteed red pepper mixture. Distribute the pieces of bacon on top. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp, and the cheese is bubbly.
Before cutting the pizza into slices, drizzle with olive oil, grate pecorino on top, and shower with chopped parsley.Pizza Dough:
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium; stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Get a feel for the dough by squeezing a small amount together: if it's crumbly, add more water; if it's sticky, add more flour - 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough gathers into a ball, this should take about 5 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times; kneading until it's smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot (i.e. over a gas pilot light) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. This is a good time to stick a pizza stone in the oven and preheat them to 500 degrees F.
Once the dough is domed and spongy, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll and stretch the dough into a cylinder and divide into 3 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to roll out.
Roll or pat out a piece of dough into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Dust a pizza paddle with flour and slide it under the pizza dough. Brush the crust with a thin layer of olive oil, and top with your favorite flavors. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Yield: 3 pizza crusts
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